A Niner Watches Babylon 5 (NO spoilers, please)

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by TheGodBen, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. David cgc

    David cgc Vice Admiral Admiral

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    In the comic that shows what Sinclair was up to concurrently with this episode, he's informed of what happened, as well. Later, talking with President Clark privately, Clark pretty much says, "Yeah, we thought it was a bunch of bullshit, but it got them to stop killing us, so we weren't exactly going to argue."
     
  2. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    One thing I didn't like about "Points of Departure" is to the extent John Sheridan was a very unsubtly reworked version of Jeffrey Sinclair. Granted, it wasn't the first time JMS had to scramble to replace an actor with a very similar character - there were no less than four instances of that in the first season alone; and suspiciously both first officers had a thing for bending the rules to plant fresh coffee. But Sinclair wasn't a guy who appeared in the pilot or an episode or two, he was the lead character of the show for a whole year.

    And what do we get? Well, Jeffrey Sinclair, the lead character in a show by Joe Straczynski, is replaced by John Sheridan. Sinclair has a history with Garibaldi, Sheridan has a history with Ivanova. Sinclair was a hero of the last stand of the Minbari War, Sheridan won the only successful battle of that war. And so on - he even looks like a younger, fresher-faced Sinclair.

    A minority opinion perhaps, but there wasn't really a point in the series where I ever came around to accepting Sheridan as a replacement for Sinclair, and I wasn't even a big fan of Sinclair to begin with.

    The other thing was something JMS of course could not avoid; Lennier dropping the Battle of the Line plot abruptly, ignominiously and with reams of dialogue. With Sinclair exiting stage left it no longer really has the significance it once did.
     
  3. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Revelations (***½)

    After watching this episode it really reinforces how Points of Departure put everything on hold in order to introduce Sheridan because all four plots from Chrysalis (G'Kar searching for something, Delenn in her cocoon, Garibaldi in a coma and the assassination of the Earth President) come into play here. All these plots are interesting on some level but none of them are all that shocking, at least not for me. G'Kar coming to the realisation that there's another race, an evil one that threatens them all, is important but it's not a huge revelation for me because I've known about the Shadows for years. I don't know what they are or why they're returning, but this episode didn't delve into any of that.

    Then there's the revelation that President Clark may have been complicit in the death of President Santiago as some sort of power grab by the Psi Corps, but even that wasn't a surprise. They made a point in Chrysalis to mention that VP Clark left the Presidential tour for health reasons, so that raised a red flag right there, and we were warned back in season 1 that the Psi Corps want political control. The final revelation, that Delenn has become half-human, or something, also wasn't shocking because I've seen pictures of her looking like that for a long time. I was hoping for a bit more than her changing appearance, although there will probably be more to it than that in the future.

    One thing I really enjoyed about this episode was the Sheridan plot about mourning his wife two years after her death, it was one of those moments where I clicked with the character and, godsdamnit, I felt a little emotional. :weep: I really enjoyed this plot... right up until the point where his sister gives him a recording of his wife that says everything he has wanted to hear for two years. :brickwall: It was a complete Get Out of Jail Free card and it nearly ruined all the good stuff that came before. Life doesn't let us off the hook like that two years after losing someone we care about, no, life prefers to rip our heads off and defecate down our throats.

    By the way, I received an email from my ex of two years yesterday. She wants to know if we can be friends again. Isn't that nice? :)

    Gods, I hate my life sometimes.

    Scott Bakula: 19
     
  4. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I do, on the other hand. And one thing I enjoyed about Babylon 5 is that not only did it take faith and it being an important, powerful force seriously, but the idea that we are more than bodies seriously as well.

    And that it didn't feel the need to come up with some technobabble "explanation" for everything. There are mysteries.

    That's it.

    I wouldn't say "most". I'd say the view on the matter of souls among humans varied greatly, depending on who you talk to. Kinda like how it is, here and now in our present times.

    I did, because all those things you mention are surface things. When it came down to the meat of the characters, especially as we got to know Sheridan and the details of both his background and who he was, he was quite different from Sinclair.

    The only real similarities, besides their "hero" statuses from the war was that they both had no problem bucking the authorities if they thought it was the right thing and/or suited the mission.

    Other than that, their personalities and interpersonal styles, totally different. Further, how the Minbari and Earth regarded them, polar opposites.

    BTW, the idea of both of them having a friend in the staff of B5 is a little much to pick on. The military is a small world and you WILL run into people you know, again and again. Further, you will run into people who know well the people you know.

    Happens to me all the time.


    I'd say, based on my own life, life does a little of both. But you need both to grow. As for Sheridan...keep watching.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 6, 2010
  5. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Basically because first I didn't want to venture into spoiler territory,
    like his relationship with Delenn, which is also picking off where Sinclair left off, or his role in the conspiracy against EarthGov, which is building off the tensions Sinclair had with them in the first season, Catherine Sakai - who replaced Caroline - is replaced by Anna Sheridan, and on and on and on.
    And secondly it was an impression of "Points of Departure", and from that all I've got are surface things, and those surface things point to Sinclair with a new coat of paint. Substantively speaking I never got over that impression...

    although in fairness Marcus Cole is also Sinclair. He's where Sinclair's literary bent was shunted off to.

    Which as inversions go isn't much of one, because given Sinclair's close relationship with Delenn there will still walls between them as the Battle of the Line plot made clear,
    and he winds up basically having the same level of standing with the Minbari Sinclair had been leaning in; close to Delenn and the religious caste and all that jazz.

    By itself, of course not. But when it's a piece of a larger puzzle? Then yeah, it's a fair target. JMS was losing this long history relationship Sinclair and Garibaldi had, and giving Sheridan the same relationship with the same character was just gosh darn it too obvious, which left Franklin and Ivanova.
     
  6. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    Sorry, Kegg, I'm afraid you're reaching *way* too far for a criticism here. Captain Happy resembling the ever-dour Sinclair?!? I don't think so! They're both tall. That's really about the extent of it.

    In a memo describing the character (written May 1, 1994 - two and a half months before writing "Points") JMS described the new captain as
    You'll be happy to know the placeholder name that JMS gave the new Captain, though: John Strider. However, the link to Lord of the Rings is small.
    Jan
     
  7. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :vulcan:

    Surely you jest. Must I rather tendentiously evoke the little J.S. thing again? JMS is pretty consistent in B5 with replacing characters with reworked versions of the same character, with varying degrees of success, and Sinclair to Sheridan is just one of the most prominent examples.

    That's not the same thing as saying Sheridan is the same character as Sinclair. As observed, he's been reworked. He has less of Sinclair's intellectual bent, but even that in part is necessary to explain the logic of him being selected for the job given the great importance the Minbari placed on Sinclair's selection in the first season (the implication being there were dozens of top brass guys eager to get the post - so why are they all passed over again? Well, uh, hero of the war, snub it to the Minbari!)

    Even the fact he was Santiago's second pick wants to connect him to the late president in some way, who of course was responsible for appointing Sinclair.

    I knew that already, actually.

    Matthew Gideon and David Martel may beg to differ on that point.
     
  8. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    I can't say I see your point, Kegg. Sheridan and Sinclair are massively different.
     
  9. Jan

    Jan Commodore Commodore

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    ...is insane. --JMS
    Maybe we've got an issue of semantics here. Given that the show was pre-planned, when a character dropped out, another character (or characters) had to be given certain parts of the story to carry out. A perfect example is with Lyta, who
    who was supposed to be enhanced by the Vorlons but she dropped out so Talia had to gain super-teep powers from Ironheart. Separately, later on, when Claudia dropped out, Lyta picked up the romance thread with Byron.

    That doesn't mean the the character is simply 'reworked', it's a new character in his/her own right with plot threads laid over from previous characters.

    Jan
     
  10. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    Martel and Gideon were from different shows, even if in the same universe. I can understand the criticism of naming the two leads with identical initials. It does seem a little convenient, and truth be told... I am betting that has a connection to the original intent and design of the series.

    However, in the end it seems a pretty thin thing onto which a criticism is hung. The two characters - even if Sheridan is a replacement for Sinclair - developed into markedly different people.
     
  11. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    To make a ridiculously simplistic argument, when I worked at TGI Fridays we went through many different managers. Three of them were all named Jeff. They all had the same job, but they were all very different people. :p
     
  12. Kegg

    Kegg Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^
    When it comes to implausible excuses, real life basically gets off the hook because nobody's really criticizing the writing. ;)
    Exactly, only it's a little more than that. I'll return to the coffee again: What purpose exactly did it serve for Ivanova to appropriate Takashima's character quirk of bending the regs to have real coffee on the station? Clearly, in terms of plots and arcs, absolutely nothing. It does however make sense when it's understood Ivanova is a replacement for Takashima, and not simply in the role the character occupied. There are things about the old characters JMS still wants to do, so he keeps those things in the new characters, and it's not all arc related. Hence, yeah, they are basically reworked versions of their predecessors.

    Absolutely. It's just a nice talking point. I gave a dozen other examples further upthread, in my "spoiler territory" spoiler marker.
     
  13. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    To Rojohen

    But obviously, it was a hack writer writing that portion of your life.

    Probably ripping off another life at another restaraunt, like Appleby's, or something.

    :D
     
  14. RoJoHen

    RoJoHen Awesome Premium Member

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    That would actually explain a lot.

    I'm pretty sure it must have been a soap opera writer.
     
  15. Ensign_Redshirt

    Ensign_Redshirt Commodore Commodore

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    I wouldn't go so far to say that Sinclair/Garibaldi and Sheridan/Ivanova had the same kind of relationship either. Sinclair and Garibaldi were build up as those close buddies,while Sheridan and Ivanova were just people who had previously served together a couple of years ago (and therefore had a much more professional relationship than Sinclair/Garibaldi).

    Actually, I think the relationship we are going to see between Garibaldi and Zack emulates the earlier Sinclair/Garibaldi friendship fairly well.
     
  16. chrisspringob

    chrisspringob Commodore Commodore

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    Again, this is an inherent problem in these threads by B5 newbies on this board. People on TrekBBS tend to keep up w/ sci-fi news enough that they tend to be partially spoiled on the plot of B5 even before they've seen a single episode.

    One thing I'll mention though: At this point in the series, it may seem like the focus is on the mysteries. But as you get further into Season 2, it's not so much about things happening that are meant to be surprising. On the contrary, it's more like the events unfold in a natural way, as a logical consequence of what's happened before, in a way that you could have predicted in advance.

    But that's a style that I find really interesting. In most arc-heavy TV shows I've seen, you can see the heavy hand of the writer moving pieces around to suit his whims of the moment. In B5 (at least, in much of it), it feels more like the plot is a force of nature, where things advance forward in a predictable, but logical way, like you're watching a slow motion train wreck, where you can see the train coming down the tracks well in advance, but there's nothing you can do to stop it.
     
  17. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    You know, this thread is definitely rekindling my interest in Babylon 5. I watched it on occasion back during the late '90s when it was just ending its run, and I thought it was a pretty cool sci-fi universe, but I never got into the show enough to make a habit of watching it whenever I saw it on TV.

    Now the entire series can be had on DVD at Walmart for $100 ($20 per season), and I'm seriously considering buying them all before they're gone. I highly doubt the series will ever get a proper Blu-ray treatment, so DVD is probably my best bet for the near future. Are the DVDs widescreen? I seem to recall B5 being filmed for that aspect ratio, but I don't know if the DVDs were mastered that way. What's the picture quality like?
     
  18. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    The DVDs are widescreen, but since the FX shots were only available in 4:3, they've been cropped. Therefore, the FX shots don't look even as good as they did originally (and this is 90s CGI to start with). Also, any live action scene with a CGI overlay had to get the same treatment.

    All in all, it's not great picture quality, but it's good enough to tell the story.
     
  19. Blamo

    Blamo Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Like Skywalker, my interest has been rekindled thanks to this thread, so I started rewatching from Babylon Squared. I'm now upto the third to last episode of season two. Really wish I could forget the entire show so I could experience it fresh again. :)

    None at all, just as it didn't serve the story in any way what so ever. Most likely JMS simply forgot, afterall we never hear of it again.

    Except wasn't Takashima going to be the one in cahoots with Clarke (or was it homeguard)? Baring the coffee and being women, the two characters are nothing alike.

    Characters that are brought in to replace outgoing ones, are usually only similar to their predecessors in that they fulfil a similar job. Otherwise their story arcs and personalities are really very much different.

    As for Sinclair-Sheridan comparisons
    Sinclair is the stoic well-read diplomat, appointed by the Minbari.
    Sheridan is the passionate tactician, appointed by EarthGov.
    The two characters are really very different.
     
  20. Lindley

    Lindley Moderator with a Soul Moderator

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    Be careful. Remember that saying what a character isn't can also constitute a spoiler in some cases.